Scientists at the Cern research facility have smashed particles together at a record intensity.
The development on Friday happened after they fed beams into the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), with some six per cent more particles per unit than the previous record set by the Fermilab's Tevatron collider in the United States last year.
Each collision in the LHC's 27-kilometre circular underground tunnel creates a simulation of the Big Bang. The higher the number of particles in each beam, the more collisions take place and the more material the scientists have to analyse.
Rolf Heuer, Cern’s director general, said it was a “very important step” in the success of the collider.
By observing the collisions, scientists hope to find solid proof of the existence of the dark matter believed to make up nearly a quarter of the known universe, and perhaps the dark energy thought to constitute around 70 per cent.
Scientists also aim to establish the existence of an elementary particle, dubbed the Higgs after the British scientist who first suggested it as the agent that gave mass to particles after the Big Bang.
swissinfo.ch and agencies